Saturday, April 30, 2016


EXCERPT FROM SOMEWHEN

...and I remember thinking, as I sat there gazing at the aesthetic detail of the small chapel, how much they cared, the carpenters of the far past: every joint, every curve, every scroll and support, the selected and honored wood grain, the structural complexity, the craftsmen's love for the very effort, was evident everywhere in that ancient work; and where in the neoworld do you see anything approaching that selfless level of intensity, manifested for all, direct from the long-ago hands and life times of unsigned individuals working alone at their craft for meager reward, unknown even now for the inspiring beauty of their achievement. Nor did distant future renown matter to them; nothing mattered but the greatest beauty and quality of which their hands, minds and skills were capable, the “How could it be otherwise” character of their timeless craft...


Monday, April 25, 2016


WEEDING

It’s hard to weed, it's hard to be young, it’s hard to do the things that have to be done.

Just now thinking, as I was weeding the garden too long neglected, how I’d had to learn (and later teach the grandaughter trio) to tell the weeds from the feeds, and thence in weedly fashion I got to thinking about a defensive critique I’d read recently about the Humanities (they now have to be defended!), how beneficial they are in nurturing the most important quality in living: an interesting and interested life.

Most significantly, the Humanities are not taught primarily in preparation for employment, which seems to be the astigmatic purpose of most education in our time - for a career that ends when you retire - but in an ancient understanding of preparation for life, in laying the groundwork for cultivating a broad mind with interests that sustain imagination and curiosity in new aspects at every age.

In my case, it nourished my hunger to read, and then to write, led me to travel for new knowledge; I'm still exploring after all these years, an 'alien' in 'foreign' lands: what greater source of  ongoing natural education (children, grandchildren, world, peoples, cultures, languages, gardening, monkeys, firewood etc.) as a way of life, unlike linear training that in time becomes outmoded, less and less part of a life that looks forward to retirement... The humanities, in contrast, are integral to life beyond its end.

Which is not to say that other fields of study lack these benefits in varying degrees, but the Humanities provide the broadest cast of all. All this flowed to mind (suggestively, while weeding) because the Humanities are being dissed these days as having the least income value, when in fact they are the reliable source of the greatest wealth-- not the external kind that incrementally isolates and uneases, but the kind that accrues within oneself, inner riches to enjoy and share for a life entire.


Saturday, April 16, 2016



THE ROCK


The Rock is a work
of quiet atmosphere
and simple exterior.

The Rock defines
a place in nature.

The approach to The Rock
is by footsteps
symbolizing passage
from another world.

To passersby, The Rock seems
nonchalant, perhaps even
uninterested.

Yet once inside, 
the visitor discovers
one ingenious space 
after another.

The Rock is conceived
as a series of experiences,
based on its own
compositional logic.

Rock visitors encounter
emotions they would not feel
elsewhere.

The Rock is neither abstract
nor representational;
The Rock is enthralled with
ambiguities of perception.

The Rock evinces 
an uncanny power
to convince the observer
of its spatial impact.

The Rock is the embodiment
of gravity.

A linear path
links all Rocks.

Each Rock is located 
at the center of the site.


Friday, April 08, 2016



MY BUGATTI WALKER

Sometimes you gotta go minimal on your dreams. Bugatti or Lamborghini would be good; Ferrari too.. As at various other stages of life, I must now confront a new reality: my cane is beginning to feel slow.       

It’s a welcome problem when you outpace your cane. And notwithstanding my long-term Astaire fantasies, I think a good, fast, sleek walker might be the next interim device to accelerate me down the long, well-paved road without handrails toward cane minimalism, something that will take the curves like a dream and leave my fellow caners in the dust. Plus it has wheels. If Bugatti or Lambo don’t make walkers yet, maybe I can get a genuine logo or hood ornament to put on it, or at least a bunch of decals to stick here and there for when I zip past my ambulatory confederates. 

Dreams take time to fulfill, which is what gives them value. Infants, pure as they are, don’t need value, don’t even dream of walking, let alone squealing around curves to take the lead; they live in bottomline reality (where it is best to retain a foothold); they’re happy to waggle their legs in the air for as long as it takes to get wherever it is they might be going, whatever that might mean. They don’t know until they graduate and get their legs, like I’ll get my Bugatti walker. 

Figuratively, I’m just departing a new infancy. I’m long past waggling my leg in the air, which is boring if you’re an adult and have been to Le Mans. A good Bugatti, though, that hugs the road, with maybe not disc brakes -- I’m no longer into that kind of speed-- but with serviceable stoppers, ‘cause I plan to be veering a lot. I still love the verge of control, which I overdid a few times in the early cane phase and on the old motorbikes now trashed, plus even earlier a couple of cars, more lessons learned and life thankfully continued. But a saner life looms now, in a rather novel way for me: a new life of streamlined walking, with a world-class brand.

Now I have to find a reputable sports walker lot within decent driving distance, where they have a full range of the latest models with all the accessories and options right down to flames and pinstriping, ideally in a nice candy apple red...  I can cane around the lot and view the selection, kick the tires, so to speak, ask expert questions like what's the 0 to 60 for this baby? How’s the turning radius on this model? Can this one do wheelies? etc. Maybe even take it for a test walk, well below the speed limit at first.

Be great to be on the road again, that leads anywhere I choose...


Saturday, March 26, 2016



THE HEIGHTS OF OUR HEAVENS

We modern folk seem ever to be wanting more out of life than we're getting out of being virtualized toward artificiality; what’s going missing, other than we ourselves? Modern knowledge as handed down via commercial and other media pays little heed to the vital portion of our being that generates no profit. It is as though time past has gone only into the dust of history, as though it weren’t coiled up in us vital still and always, living back to the first of all... 

What impresses me the more I age is the extreme youthful difficulty, as viewed from even this mere vantage, of avoiding the conventional channels of thought, the standard lifemoves and the received ambitions to which they give rise, while the natural mental topography, traced with ancient pathways, is fundamental in our thoughts, concordant with the ancient knowings, where understanding is as the flowing stream to the mountain slope. The meditative mind when let to fly soon finds its true compass and nourishment for the journey, inner light acting upon a mind as the sun upon a garden.

I recommend that you become a hawk for a time; use your own wings. Discover for yourself the heights of your heavens and see what once was unseen that is yours; move in dimensions where no bodied man has been. What person would refuse this experience, even one chronically virtualized? The truest way to earth is from your own heaven.


Friday, March 04, 2016



RIGHT ARM, MY FOOT!

Amazing, how long you can store pain without feeling it. Take my right arm, for example. And don’t say I never gave you anything. When I get my rehab massages, the painless arm blossoms into amazing and colorful waves of “welcome” pain, the kind I can appreciate, that I’d had no idea I was blithely carrying around. I’d been kept ignorant of it through the benign graces that have always known their body stuff right down to the ground.

As of now, it’s been about 18 months since my brain short-circuited in a minor way, randomly scrambling the communication routes originally divided between the limbs on my right side, which are now blended in a curious new arrangement and must be reaccommodated, adjusted, built upon and redirected by a select crew of innate nervous system and other operative entities who are complete strangers to me, using unknown algorithmic systems I embody but am not in charge of, thank goodness; I’ve always been inattentive to the principles of higher corporeal math. 

These cryptic entities are now busy trying to reconfigure the new situation, so I wisely remain aside;  I can feel them colluding and assembling in there, working day and night, making way-in-my-head decisions regarding things that even science has no inklings of. It is best not to interfere as though I know what I am doing; when a limb is ready to make a move, it will do so-- and thereby inform me of its success. It’s a nice series of surprises. I’ve never really “known” how to operate a limb anyway, and this is not the time to start, except in the most basic of ways; best leave the fine details to the corporeal experts that were me long before I was.

These nameless entities, which have been carrying out such complex tasks for eons and to which I am newly thankful, have generated a number of miracle-level surprises along my way, the most surprising (and informative) to me being that it’s going on without me-- it doesn’t need yours truly much at all, when I’m the de facto boss, but who the hell do I think I am, anyway. I go along with it all-- not that I have a choice. So what if a hand thinks like a foot for a while now and then? 

Broadens the horizons.


Thursday, February 11, 2016



THE MUSHROOM UNSEEN

Shiitake have IQs. You don't believe it, just ask me. Admittedly, it's a kind of intelligence most folks don't encounter in everyday life, outside certain areas of finance; it's an intelligence we who prefer full daylight don't know much about. I've never read any scientific studies on shiitake IQ either, but if you actually raise the savory creatures, you come to understand the shadowy time-transcendent intelligence you're dealing with. You get that eerie Twilight-Zone feeling, as in the presence of chronic bankers. 

One example of shiitake savvy, apart from the amazing hydraulics of their existence and other unfathomable skills, is that they always grow biggest in places you don't look for them. When you're out searching for lunch on a log and at some point realize that there aren't any shiitake worth harvesting and are willing to swear there are no places on that log that you didn't check for shiitake, just a short time later you’ll see a giant sofa arm edging out from the very same log, with that TZ theme deedling in the background. You swear to yourself once more that you checked there, you checked everywhere, you've been doing this for 15 years now, after all, you should know, hunger doesn't overlook food, but your time and experience mean little to the brown-hooded brood...

This happens year after year; they always grow biggest where you definitely looked for them. I can only conclude that certain places are forever invisible to non-mushrooms. This is not standard reality we’re dealing with here, this is shiitake reality; they live in multiple dimensions and are not fully of this earth. I know the round-earthers and other reality-restricted types are right away poo-pooing this idea but of course they do not raise shiitake and probably work in finance or its vicinity. They react with knee-jerk responses like "Of course they grow biggest where you didn't look, it's because you didn't look there, so they weren't found, but were left to grow big!" The obvious is often all the reality-prone can command...

The metafact is not that shiitake grow big because I don't look where they are growing, it’s that they grow big in those places because they know where I cannot look! I understand this because of all the times I have left a good-looking mushroom in place to grow bigger in a couple of days, and it NEVER DOES... That's right, it knows I'm going to harvest and consume it, so it doesn't bother growing any further! The resources go elsewhere: they go to the mushroom unseen.

Moreover, the shroom I haven't spotted knows I haven't spotted it and thus that it has a chance to spore, so it goes for it, rockets out and up, aiming for the fences right before my unseeing eyes. With every fiber of all the mycelium backing its effort, it goes massive. It then permits itself to be spotted, because by then it doesn’t care, it has grown beyond edibility. It stands there jauntily, in plain sight now, doing its oh-so-subtle victory dance and wearing that protosmirk they get at that stage, like the good guy at the end of the war movie who's dying but has managed to blow the bridge.

Still. I get most of the newbies sooner or later, so in some ways I'm smarter than most mushrooms, if the monkeys don't get them first, though in other ways I'm dumber than mushrooms, and throw the monkeys in there too for good measure, it all works out in its own way-- monkeys, mushrooms, humanity, finance, all one big cycle bobbling in its own kind of balance, just ask the universe. 

The evidence is always right there before your eyes, where a shiitake isn't.


Friday, February 05, 2016




Hoshi-imo 
  
Cold Spring night 
Sogyu brings out
sweet potatoes unearthed
last Autumn,
split and dried over winter,
to roast in slow time
over embers like your hunger
as you practice
waiting
until
too hot to hold--

Then bite with care
chew with a dancy tongue
and the sweet
comes alive with your life,
the sun, the rain,
the earth in you,
relives in taste
how all things grow
and raise you up
because you are their flavor

                                   

                                     RB ii.2016

*


Friday, January 29, 2016



RECOLLECTIONS OF AN ELDERLY TOMATO
 
In re the aforegoing and as per the hereinafter, I should have mentioned that at this time of year our house itself is a cold frame. We stop heating at the beginning of March, if not earlier, as soon as we enter the single-sweater cusp, so the house becomes a big cold frame.

Aboriginally, plants of course lived their entire lives outdoors, in their natural environs. Market demand for specialized cultivars, however, has since rendered their derived produce so civilized, so coddled, so entitled, as it were, that modern varieties are becoming weaker and more vulnerable to even slight variations in their environment. 

Analogically speaking, their offspring are losing their ability to read and write cursive, and make a living for themselves in the real vegetable world. They need all the debilitating luxuries and medicaments, right away. And not to put too fine a point on it, if you cross them you don’t know what you’ll get. Is this the vegetable future we want for ourselves? Monsanto PR says a big YES!!! in giant yellow herbicidal letters sprayed across a vast industrial cornfield not far from your home, using what used to be called Agent Orange.  

But anciently honored vegetables have their own opinions.“Why, when I was still green,” says an elder sun-dried Roma tomato, “we learned to write mentally, with the figurative equivalent of a steel-tipped pen dipped in 100% tomato juice! We mastered the fine points of tomato grammar in seedling school! A second language was a budding requirement; I studied our original Nahuatl. Day after day we absorbed the ancient Endless Tomato Saga, continually reciting it from memory in absolute silence! That is not easy for a youngster.  

“Yes, we were born outdoors, lived outdoors, and you never enjoyed a better tomato. We were so proud... Those were the days... They were all real tomatoes back then, let me tell you; it was a great time for a young fellow to be alive. Why, look at what they have in the supermarkets now, no integrity at all-- cloned in labs, grown in greenhouses, even in soups of chemicals... 

“In the old days, though... Let me tell you about this beautiful Italian tomato I remember well... She was a beauty; you don’t forget curves like that, nosir-- Bella Toscana her name was, we grew very close, even hung around together... Strictly vine ripened, of course... They sure don’t make ‘em like they used to... Saucy as hell... What a dish... Why, even when we were still green, one time she and I...”

We tastefully leave the elderly tomato over in the gourmet section, musing to himself with a wistful smile, dreaming of a fading past, of beauties that once were, of glorious sauces and truly haute cuisine, when even ketchup was made only from the finest families of the land...

Now let’s see if we can still find any Heirloom vegetables...


Friday, January 22, 2016



MY LIFE ON THE EURASIAN PLATE 


Clockwise - Blue dot: North American plate, Pacific plate, Philippine plate, Eurasian Plate. 

Like everyone else alive today I got here late, tectonically speaking; by the time I arrived, Pangaea was little more than a crackpot hypothesis. 

Soon after reality set in, I learned that I'd been born and raised on the North American plate, which will always be my tectonic home (does one ever truly leave home plate?) but soon flew across the Pacific plate to the Eurasian plate where, during my first years of Tokyo drift, I occasionally traveled to land masses on the Philippine plate and the Eurasian Plate, which, as it happens, bears Kyoto and the Kansai region generally southward, at about 1 cm per month.

Subsequently, as personal transience would have it, in 1980 Standard Continental time I moved to Kyoto via the Shinkansen, which leaves tectonic speed in the dust; even going by foot is faster than any plate on earth. Accelerated existence on my new quake-prone plate has nevertheless been every bit as delightful as my times on the various other plates that go to make up the well-lived tectonic life.

Nowadays, it seems a lot of folks are content just to drift maybe a few centimeters a year on their birthplates while gliding imperceptibly through life, but as a traveler who - like anyone else - can walk faster than any plate, staying pretty much in place while moving indiscernibly is a lifestyle I could never quite accept. The solar system whirls galactically through accelerating space, earth spins and glides its way through the starlit void, its own many plates drift across vast seas of turbulent magma, why in the world should we ourselves remain in place, platefully speaking? It seems not to be in our universal nature; are we not platal in origin?

However big the picture, tectonic movements can be confusing on many levels. As if national citizenship weren’t illusion enough, the constant flux of all these plates, resolutely immune to autocratic fiat, renders them even more illusory than borders. As a native of the shifting North America plate, which glides down over the top of the Pacific plate to add northern Japan to Japan but never quite makes it to Kyoto, all I can truly say is that by birth I am Terran.

That blue jewel is a planet to be proud of.


Sunday, January 17, 2016



TOWERS OF GOLD
                                                                        (from unposted archives)

Out here in the cold March wind of an evening, Siberia swirling its icy cape over the land for another try at winter, I'm pulling tree debris off of just-planted lettuce, shoulders hunched beneath a dull, steely sky-- Tarps torn off the firewood, icicle wind poking here and there through my indoor wear-- this was going to be just a fast outing for quick windblast fixes I could see were needed from a glance out the window, where it was toasty warm.

Once outside, though, at each turn I spotted other things that needed doing before dark - and oh yeah: get more firewood, since I’m out here... Then, clenched in the frigid grip of this time-wrestle, battling once more in the old cosmic arena that life can become in a moment’s darkening, I feel the first sliver of that deep silver loneliness so familiar to one who has lived this far... every such one knows it by heart, that wintry desert deep in the inner times of being. In later life, icy wind and solitude give it a new heft...

At earlier ages, that mood would soon pass, change to a heartfilling vibrancy dipped straight from the well of youth, once again lifting me to joy in natural buoyancy, back in an easygoing companionable world well-stocked with tomorrows-- but now, living closer to the nearing edge of life I’m ever more aware of my narrowing future, of a time when no more is-- of past either, no going back to that laughing, vital crowd, even now all living into their own old ages or too early gone-- soon we will all be far from now...

Then from all the way ago comes an unbidden warmth that lifts me, eases my hunkered mood, transforms this verge into joy that glows like towers of gold--  There are always treasures to be found, along the line of being...

I clear the downed wood, doubleweight the tarps, close the gate and head back toward the warmth, bearing armfuls of firewood amid towers of gold.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016



RIPENINGS 
                                                                                                  [from unposted archives]

Here in the Japanese countryside there aren't any movie theaters or entertainment districts, like they have in the big cities. I don't know how we survive out here with just trees and flowers, rivers, lakes, wild animals, genuine weather and distant neighbors-- the most exciting event right now where I live is the plums ripening. Nothing like standing under the plum tree in the cool of the morning and having a couple of sweet ones for breakfast. 

We saved a lot of plums from the ravages of the scoundrelly simians in the historical Battle of the Big Plum Job a few days ago, our victory thanks to the advanced rock-propulsion system we've developed during the million years of struggle between sapience and simiance, a struggle still ongoing in politics and finance. 

Right after that engagement I picked a couple of basketfuls of ripening plums, just in case the furry marauders returned, but I couldn't reach the purplings high up, which are now hanging there ripening in the sun, like the finest rubies in perfectly complementary leaf greenness. Beautiful. 

Whoever designed plum trees sure knew what she was doing.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015



New Year's Resolutions Test List

- Win more lotteries
- Move all holidays to workdays
- Catch all missed trains, planes etc.
- Maximize paid vacation
- Find all lost things
- Remain in love
- Abandon possessiveness
- Practice free will
- Honor habits
- Maximize portions



Saturday, December 26, 2015


I SHOT AN ARROW INTO THE AIR 
                                                                              (fm journal archives)

I shot an arrow into the air, it would be falling to earth sometime later I didn’t have a clue where, since it was a 60-pound-pull recurved bow and I (like the several friends who were there that day) was an invincible 16 years of age, so launched the arrow with all my strength straight up into the gusty autumn day, where the dot disappeared at about 250 feet over a cow-empty pasture-- and who at that age could have foreseen the fact, let alone cared, that an arrow can suddenly be gone up there like that, somewhere high over several heads? WOW!
     Now this was life, this was adventure-- until the realization that the pointed killmissile would in a few seconds be coming down somewhere of which we were all integral parts. I had been tested by the world before and I had survived, but this was different: I had no decisive role to play here, as I’d had with the sudden effortless grab of a high tree limb, the lightning flick of a steering wheel or a quick reflexive grip on a bridge girder. Those of us out there under that lethal umbrella of arrow that would be landing any second were now all in the same pasture, over which we were running like mad in every direction, because where the hell to?
     The wisdom of foresight belongs to those who survive, as teenagers often do for one reason or another; at the time, on the scene, none of us had any spatial or directional preference, really, because by this late moment before imminent death from above, “where” had no more meaning than “when”; even an Olympian couldn’t run far and fast enough (300+ meters in 15 seconds, at a retroguess) through deep grass dotted with slickery cowpats.
    What’s more, we had no idea where the overhead streaking microdot of death - were it even visible - would land; anywhere was the answer: any point you are running toward was where: how the hell could you know? That was god’s department. 
     But you’ve got to do something, it’s just not teenagerly possible to stand there awaiting the descent of death with so much space around, instinct insisting you at least make it hard for death to find you, plus you feel it even more if you just stand there, with time to imagine the high-speed metal tip penetrating its fated target, but you have no steel umbrella or tank lid, so running for your life is the best bet and at that age you do run well, so at least during those precious seconds remaining before skydeath you run zigzag in all directions, as away from all fears...
     What a condensed life metaphor it is in retrospect, an invisible arrow now descending as fast as it shot off on its arc, while we all live on until. It was life or death right then and there for me and Mick, Jackie, Teddy, George, Paul, Marty, maybe Charlie and a couple other guys but we all survived, at least that day; we must’ve learned something from it, to use as we went on to disappear into our own skies...  
     But then, after so many tingly seconds had passed and we were all still alive and unhurt: Where’s the arrow, let’s do it again!   
     When you reach elder, you get to wonder how you made it this far...


Friday, December 18, 2015



Prayer of My Granddaughter

I give no faith 
to the ways of madeup gods,
but watching my young granddaughter
take a moment from play
to pray by herself
at the grave of her pet,
I know there is prayer.

There is a turning inward 
to all the self,
a proving of the universe.
No need for a god,
She is the god.
She is the universe living,
the circle closing
embracing its own.

She stands at her best,
folds her hands
bows her head
summons a silent blessing
from the place of places
that powers the heart,
ends with her own amen.

When she turns to play again
there is more to the air.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015


CUCUMBERS AND POLITICS
      (from unposted archives)

Gardeners, like leaders of nations and global corporations (who, however, have clean fingernails) are continuously confronted with key decisions involving allocation of territory, life and death, choices dependent upon time, weather, experience and myriad other background factors of infinite combination and no possible resolution, like the mind of a US president earlier in this century. 

With succulents, as with legumes and drupes, there is no going back. Ask the guy who ran Enron, ask W, ask Bill Gates, ask anyone making key decisions and they’ll tell you, as soon as they have a minute, that yes-- tomatoes, snap peas and squashes, like honest auditors, software and Afghanistan, can be unforgiving. But that’s part of life in the fast lane, just as it is with backup cucumbers: you have to move on. Like time, markets and battle theaters, Cucumbers wait for no man.  

It is just such a dilemma that I’m facing at the moment, now that the hurricane has passed on by, the goodgod rain has stopped and the sun is shining, in between intense downpours: I have to do something about the backup cucumbers I got because the extended sunlessness was not what the early cukes desired, any more than the early tomatoes had. I got backup tomatoes, too, but tomatoes are more demanding and less patient, sort of like Afghanistan, so I had to deal with them first, but that was a no-brainer, since tomatoes give up quickest; but cucumbers, as fragile as they appear, can and will hold on to their last yellowing minileaf. 

It’s like Ron Lay with honesty, Gates with Netscape Navigator, or Obama with the Bush legacy: what do you do? In the former case, where there’s big money involved and stockholders matter, so you turn on a dime is what you do. You get on your gardening clothes and you go out there: get your tools and dig in, get to work, make the hard-nosed decisions, get it done: WHAM: backup cukes in the ground, in the form of Internet Explorer built into Windows, thriving in new atmosphere. Or you can take the traditional political course and largesse the money gardens of your buddies with another 600 billion or so early cukes, but not at your friends’ expense; distant low-and mid-income residents of no connection will cover the cost of the extended mistake a second time (see gardening records of earlier presidents, governors, mayors). More a matter of inner circles than money.

So I guess I’ll plant the backup cukes where the snow peas were, when it’s politically safe. At least I don’t have stockholders or a misguided electorate or a Federal Reserve Bank that’s not Federal or Reserve or a Bank.

Vegetables never lie like that.


Friday, November 27, 2015


SUCH AMBITION

Earlier this week Keech concluded his 2-month visit, which in terms of elder time lasted slightly over 3-4 days, maybe a week. Elder time, as all we who live it know, accelerates exponentially. I had barely spun three times in my wheelchair at the Big K's arrival, when he was waving farewell at the station.

Despite the headspinning brevity of it all, it was great to have a youthful body around that could run upstairs 2 or 3 steps at a time and then bound down like he had wings somewhere, lift heavy objects and split wood for hours, though that latter task was difficult for me to merely watch and not be too much of a supervisor, since I used to know right well how to do it all myself-- and better than anyone else, now that I’m unable.

Among the more-than-a-year-overdue household chores that awaited the limbs and energy of youth were such tasks as painting, caulking, chainsawing, lugging logs and climbing ladders onto trees and roofs, plus major etc. I'd never realized how many limbs and convolutions are actually needed for the formerly 'simple’ task of climbing a ladder and then moving around on it to even higher, teetery places -- a fearful set of skills, best not to watch. There are so many key areas of common life to which one has given little or no thought by this common time in my life-- a shocking series of revelations, when at last they dawn and one has thankfully survived, predominantly intact.

It was nice too to have renaissance conversations with the Big K, those rambling-where-they-will kind that I enjoy so much... he was more focused in his older being than when I last saw him... 

All those many thanks to Keech...

As to my own ongoing return, of which more anon, my blurry hand is more and more finding its own place-- often irritatingly insisting on it in fact, like a child (it is, after all, little more than a year old): I wanna brush teeth! I wanna use those scissors! I wanna open that jar! Lemme try! I can carry that! etc. Go ahead, I say; knock yerself out! 

A heartening thing, such ambition in the young...


Friday, October 30, 2015


LIKE A ROLLING STONE

One day recently, with Keech at my side here in Japan while FaceTiming with Kasumi and the Trio in CA, upon seeing my image in the corner of the iPad screen I remarked with some surprise: "As I get older, I'm looking more and more like Keith Richards..."

At that, two  sibling voices from opposite sides of the globe responded as one: "WHO?" 

            --- Commence extended freezeframe of deep intergenerational awareness ---

As had happened at several recent instances in my life, what had been cultural Everests were suddenly shown to be current divots. Our family's earlier Western-flavored musical component had been more of a dylan-zappa-doors-nirvana-pixies blend, so this reaction was not so big a surprise, but one does accumulate a certain mindfill of beloved cultural debris over the decades, in contrast to which a more youthful perspective -- however chronically misguided -- can come as a shock. Thus marches history and its icons backward across the stage and beyond the wings, out of sight but to those who remember...                  Exeunt big time...

As to book affairs, the Simple Vegetarian Recipes 1-9 series from The Big Elsewhere will begin their shared appearance on Facebook any day now (long-term PLM readers please FB friend me), as soon as Kaya has completed her art work and the computer stops fritzing around. 

 Also, I can now fully extend my right arm.


Friday, October 16, 2015



THE BIG ELSEWHERE NOW PUBLISHED!


Heian-kyo Media page

http://www.lulu.com/shop/robert-brady/the-big-elsewhere/paperback/product-22397961.html

Kind words or comments/reviews, Facebook etc. "likes" much appreciated. More on all this etc. later, when I have more than a minute.

Sunday, September 06, 2015



I HAVE DREAMS

More and more often these nights, I realize in a dream that I have just walked casually across a room before it occurs to me that I have forgotten to use my cane... Yet the freely walking experience feels fully normal to me, unaccompanied by the usual regret at it being only a dream... even though I awaken again to the same status of ambulatory ability.

Nonetheless, the grip in my right hand is growing stronger daily, and my old crippling shoulder pain has diminished to the point that I can almost turn and lie on the shoulder directly, even fall asleep on my right side, for the first time in over a year since the big short circuit! 

Going full circuit, as the final days draw near for completion and publication of The Big Elsewhere -- John E. arrives back from the US today, the final proofing has been done, and following final selection and arrangement of sumie illustrations, the first full-edition pdf, for starters, will be ready to send out.

Deb's welcome idea for promoting The Big Elsewhere by posting Simple Vegetarian Recipes as a stanza series took a quantum leap when I got the special arts crew of Kasumi and the Trio on board, Kaya, Mitsuki and Miasa to do three stanzas each and Kasumi to supervise. The Trio are thrilled by the idea, especially since they're in the book! The first test drawings are every bit as charming and to-the-mark as I expected.

And as though to top it all off, yesterday evening as I was returning here after my usual Saturday visit to the house on the mountain (where  I set new up-and-down speed records on the stairway), I had ambled out the door a leisurely few yards, almost to the car, when I realized I had forgotten my cane, only this time I wasn't dreaming...

Felt pretty normal, too.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


EVERY EGGPLANT SAYS WHAT IT MEANS
                                                                         (From journal archives, 1996)

At this stage in my life I'm having a lot more conversations with vegetables, particularly eggplant and cabbage. The lack of in-depth, one-on-one vegetable conversations in my earlier years reached its low point when I moved into the city with its hypovegetable ambience of concrete, asphalt, sirens, car horns, subterranean rumblings, auto exhaust, broken sunlight, demented wind, artificial weather and whatnot, unlike the countryside with its genuine climate-filled original silence, rich with the whispers of history and teeming with animal and vegetable conversations, including those of weeds and other less raucous foliage, all with a core of tranquility.

Though I realize now that vegetables have always sought my attention in one way or another, whether through their varied crispness, showy leafery, supermarket vegetable signs or by just pushing up out of the ground right at my feet. The turnips, kohlrabis, eggplants and broccolis of my younger days didn't get through sometimes, and when they did I often wasn't listening (youth feels little kinship with the vegetative, except during college) so I didn't get to hear their half of it, though I've always appreciated the fiber content.

When after marketing my older adult life for a sufficient number of decades I was at last able to move back into the country and resume the vegetable dialog pretty much where we'd left off, I began to realize how much vegetables had done for me, how big a role they'd played in my life despite my early disdain for their contribution (vegetables are a lesson to us all) and I could understand more clearly than ever how they had called me back home in their various accents, from the crinkly flutterings of lettuces and the dry, aristocratic tone of eggplants to the sensual implications of tomatoes. The firm gesticulations of cabbage and the tacit attitude of carrots have also become more endearing over time, as have the glottals of okra and the orotundities of pumpkins, just to mention some conversational rows in my garden.

There was nothing in the big city like my old and true friends, who always say precisely what they mean and then live up to every word.